The Parable of the Flood

A man was trapped in his house during a flood. He began praying to God to rescue him. He had a vision in his head of God’s hand reaching down from heaven and lifting him to safety. The water started to rise in his house. His neighbour urged him to leave and offered him a ride to safety. The man yelled back, “I am waiting for God to save me.” The neighbour drove off in his pick-up truck.


The man continued to pray and hold on to his vision. As the water began rising in his house, he had to climb up to the roof. A boat came by with some people heading for safe ground. They yelled at the man to grab a rope they were ready to throw and take him to safety. He told them that he was waiting for God to save him. They shook their heads and moved on.

The man continued to pray, believing with all his heart that he would be saved by God. The flood waters continued to rise. A helicopter flew by and a voice came over a loudspeaker offering to lower a ladder and take him off the roof. The man waved the helicopter away, shouting back that he was waiting for God to save him. The helicopter left. The flooding water came over the roof and caught him up and swept him away. He drowned.

When he reached heaven and asked, “God, why did you not save me? I believed in you with all my heart. Why did you let me drown?” God replied, “I sent you a pick-up truck, a boat and a helicopter and you refused all of them. What else could I possibly do for you?”

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28 Responses to The Parable of the Flood

  1. Mark.V. says:

    “What else could I possibly do for you?”

    Well God being all powerful could have simply picked him up and carried him to safety. But then God today does not do the big miracles that the God of the Old Testament used to do.

  2. Richard says:

    Good point, Mark.

    Martin Luther said

    All who call on God in true faith, earnestly from the heart, will certainly be heard, and will receive what they have asked and desired, although not in the hour or in the measure, or the very thing which they ask. Yet they will obtain something greater and more glorious than they had dared to ask.

  3. “Well God being all powerful could have simply picked him up and carried him to safety. .”

    Yeah God could have done this, the question however is wether God is obliged to or required to given his nature to do so, even when a person refuses to take reasonable steps themselves. There seems to be a kind of immaturity in some people towards God whereby they refuse to be sensible or responsible and blame God for not intervening.

    “But then God today does not do the big miracles that the God of the Old Testament used to do.”

    I think this misreads the old testament, God does not typically do miracles in the old testament. There are some miraclous events around the exodus plaques( though much of this could be simply natural phenomena) and some around the time of Elijah, but apart from that the old testament has God working through the normal processes of history without miraculous intervention. The new testament records Miracles to authenticate the person of Jesus and the authority of the apostles but does not suggest this is typical or normal, in fact the whole point is its extra oridinary.

  4. Tim says:

    Thank you Matt for doing ‘Eternal Vigilance’ the honor of your Contribution. I hope you find our conversations here worthy of your input. Of course that would necessitate you bring your sword and shied, your longsuffering and your Magnanimity… a soft heart and an open ear, because there surely will be gauntlets thrown… and I hope that we in return can supply you with some ‘Tangential assaults’ by which you may hone your War craft.
    I have already made use of your Comment here on another thread.
    It is on this point:
    Why do you feel the need to reduce the Miracles Moses wrought before Pharaoh down to mere natural phenomena?
    I see this as a typical compromise/ retreat from true theism towards atheist Naturalism.

  5. Margene G says:

    Why should God reach down His hand in such a dramatic manner to rescue the man? There were three other means of rescue sent from God. It is our privilege to be His hands. God directs us to search out and rescue in His behalf. Why should God personally rescue us as the man on the roof desired? His pride prevented him. Why could he not see God’s hand in those mortal hands that were offered? God rescues us all the time. It is our responsibility to see those miracles in the making. God is all powerful and all knowing. It’s trusting Him that is our task. He knows best.

  6. Betty Jenner says:

    “God only helps those who help themselves”, is what I have heard since I was a little girl! I am a senior lady NOW…and over my last 62 years, I have learned that you have to meet God half way…you have to DO your part!

    IF we leave it ALL to GOD…what kind of character does that instill in US? And, that is what this parable is demonstrating! God sent help…but, they guy was expecting God to do it ALL, by reaching his hand down & plucking the guy off the roof! The guy didn’t even TRY to save himself! That wasn’t FAITH in God, the guy was being LAZY and expecting MORE from God than what he was willing to give of himself! He was testing God.

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  8. Joffler Jeaux says:

    I think the issue is laid out at the very beginning. It was the drowning man who created the vision of how God would rescue him and blinded himself to any other means of salvation. He presumed to know or perhaps dictate how God should work, thereby unwittingly rendering God his servant and then dared question why He failed to serve him as he required.

  9. Maria C. says:

    Bingo. A common way of thinking among atheists because everybody knows that if there was really a God, He would do things the way they would and since He doesn’t, He couldn’t possibly exist.

  10. Chris V. says:

    To Maria C. your comment shows that you are actually pretty ignorant of common atheists philosophy, my guess is either you dod not know any or you have never really had a conversation with the ones you do know. Most atheists actually really dig this parable because it shows the necessity of man relying upon his fellow man for support and or salvation.The idea of the existence of this existential divine force who watches over us all is actually an indication of a lazy mind. One does not need to find answers for oneself since God is of course the source of all. Atheists dont want God do do things the way we want, we want people to stop crediting God for things good or ill that are basically either random chance or a self created situation.

  11. Dennis says:

    Now for something completely different. I think God actually did save the drowning man after all; how much better then being with God in heaven.

    When I first became a christian my preacher shared this story with us. I was single and wanted to have a girlfriend so I prayed that God would deliver a woman to my front door. I did this every night for a few weeks. One day a storm came up, it was poring rain down so hard, couldn’t even see across the street. The roar and thunder drowned out the sound from my radio. While peering out the window aghast at the storms fury there was frantic pounding on my door. As I opened it up two attractive women burst in with armfuls of groceries. They looked at me and then at each other and we all started laughing. They were coming back from the store and mistook my house for the one next door. I will never forget God’s impeccable sense of humor. Not only did he answer my prayer but doubled it just to make sure.

    This is great, lets go again. Thinking of my past dating experience I put together a list of the best qualities of every girl I had dated and generated a composite of the perfect woman for me. Yep, I was all in this time, I had thought of everything. I prayed for a long time but eventually gave up.
    One day at church in bible class we met, although I didn’t know it at first. She was so beautiful I didn’t think she’d ever date the likes of me. We glanced at each other, I asked her out, I was throttled when she said yes. It wasn’t until the third or forth date I realized she was exactly the person I had prayed about months ago. Eventually we started making plans, were we’d like to live, so happily ever after.
    She had this daughter in joint custody who was spoiled and playing both parents against each other. The drama continued to escalate until it became dangerous for me. That was the end. To this day I truly love her but know it is not meant to be. Better to have love and lost . . . I learned an important lesson, too.

    Now days I still pray but I lift those wants and needs up to the Lord. I ask for His guidance and direction. I ask if it is in His will for me to have this or that. That He might bless me with His infinite wisdom in making decisions. I pray the things I do will glorify Him. I love God, He is full of surprises. This is so much better then I could ever dream. The moral of the story is be careful what you pray for, you might just get it.

  12. MrOzAtheist says:

    An omniscient god would have known that the man would refuse help from the pick-up truck, the boat, and the helicopter. Why would an omniscient god send methods or rescue he knew in advance would be rejected?

    The god of this parable would have known what form of rescue the trapped man would require to believe that the rescuer was god or a representative of. But he chooses to not send that form of rescue and to send three rescuers he knows will be rejected.

    It seems the god of this story had no intention of saving the trapped man but instead was looking for an ‘I told you so’ moment when the man eventually made it to heaven.

    Am I really expected to believe an omniscient being capable of literally anything would behave in such a manner?

    • reed says:

      “But he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent!’ “But he said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.’”

      Some people will refuse rescue no matter what.

    • Murph says:

      Mr Oz, great question, lets extend your rationale beyond the scope of this example shall we? If God only provides scenarios where we go to heaven (the alternative to what God does in this story) we can say God should make it so everyone should go to heaven (regardless of their choices, as we all have free will). I would rightly assume this is a God you would not question – correct? I suppose you always choose the scenario where we don’t have a choice.

      So no rules, everyone goes to Heaven, what is the point? I hope I don’t need to explain why having rules or some code to live by matters or is intrinsic to mankind and community, I don’t even need a theological basis to make that statement, I’ll give you a hint though, it’s why no matter what society you’re living in now is either protected by some sort of law enforcement either literal and/or notional and its why you’re living in peace or in a country trying to achieve peace.

      If it isn’t clear to you yet, what I’m saying is when you think about why you’re questioning God in this scenario it doesn’t make sense, practically or theoretically.

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  14. Harry Malone says:

    The GOD of creation is the same then and now. His method of operation is with man and not despite him. He does not cross a persons free will / choice. You say did he know of course he did. The problem is never with GOD but with our ability to recognize him. By your words you see GOD as small and lacking in some way. But HE is completely the opposite. His love is so vast this even knowing we will fail HE loves us any way. This HE does through JESUS and the cross . And not us on our own efforts. HE warns us , sends help and direction all the while loving us.And we refuse it, and turn our backs and when all falls apart we blame him! We know him not! HE LOVES US ANY WAY. BUT HIS STANDARDS HE WILL NOT DECREASE. HIS way is still best. Call on JESUS NOW ! HE WILL NOW SAVE Y-O-U !.The and problem is not GOD but the understood YOU and I!!!!

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  16. James Kella says:

    God works mostly through his people or representatives. He did rain manna from Heaven as this has a great symbolic value and message; today he will send someone with money or food for you. This is not because HE ran out of power or resources but that is the way HE operates. He will rain meat and bread from Heaven if HE does not find His representative in that place. God is Community of Father/Son/Holy Spirit and HE works and wishes us to work as communities. The Good Samaritan story is all about helping the neighbour and accepting all help needed as coming from HIM. HE has placed neighbours to help and all we need to do is love God and our neighbour.

  17. Lee says:

    What page is this in the King James bible ?

  18. Benjamin says:

    I am Catholic but i find this parable nice, God is all powerful and he shall help you but not do everything for you because he loves you, he shall make you everytime more strong, but remember that there also exists a devil that can destory you.

  19. PanamaRod says:

    I believe all of the comments have illustrated quite clearly their opinions on the specifics of the parable. But the key word here is “parable” – definition: ‘a short allegorical story used to illustrate some truth or lesson. To convey a meaning indirectly by the use of an analogy.’
    Since this parable was posted in Jan 2012, three years into the disaster that is Obama, I believe that Richard was telling us that in spite of all of the warnings and evidence of the inevitable coming of this disaster, it was grossly overlooked by an electorate which didn’t “pay attention”. And eleven months after this blog, the same electorate still wasn’t paying attention; they re-elected the extant disaster for another 4-year encore. Let’s not make the same mistake in 2016.

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  21. Di says:

    God offered to rescue the man each time and he refused. We are the hands and feet of God! He partners with us to help the poor.

  22. What’s the point of this if it isn’t in the bible?

  23. Dave says:

    The story of the truck, boat, and helicopter is very similar to the temptation of Jesus by the devil (eg see Luke 4:9-12). The man is this story intentionally put himself in danger to see how God would deliver him. When Jesus was confronted with a similar situation, quoting Duet 6:16 he told the devil “you shall not put the Lord your God to the test.”

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